Hybrid gait training with an overground robot for people with incomplete spinal cord injury: A pilot study

Antonio J. del-Ama, Ángel Gil-Agudo, Jose L Pons, Juan C. Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Locomotor training has proved to provide beneficial effect in terms of mobility in incomplete paraplegic patients. Neuroprosthetic technology can contribute to increase the efficacy of a training paradigm in the promotion of a locomotor pattern. Robotic exoskeletons can be used to manage the unavoidable loss of performance of artificially driven muscles. Hybrid exoskeletons blend complementary robotic and neuro-prosthetic technologies. The aim of this pilot study was to determine the effects of hybrid gait training in three case studies with persons with incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) in terms of locomotion performance during assisted gait, patient-robot adaptations, impact on ambulation and assessment of lower limb muscle strength and spasticity. Participants with iSCI received interventions with a hybrid bilateral exoskeleton for 4 days. Assessment of gait function revealed that patients improved the 6 min and 10 m walking tests after the intervention, and further improvements were observed 1 week after the intervention. Muscle examination revealed improvements in knee and hip sagittal muscle balance scores and decreased score in ankle extensor balance. It is concluded that improvements in biomechanical function of the knee joint after the tested overground hybrid gait trainer are coherent with improvements in gait performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number298
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberMAY
DOIs
StatePublished - May 13 2014

Keywords

  • Gait
  • Hybrid exoskeleton
  • Lower extremity
  • Motor recovery
  • Muscular electrical stimulation
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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